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tv   Overheard With Evan Smith  PBS  January 4, 2012 5:00am-5:30am PST

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>> fundiig for overheard ú&ih evan smitt is provided in part by hillco partnnrs, texas governnent affaiis ú&nsultaacy and its global health careeconsulting business unit,,hillcc3 healtt. and by the mattson mchale foundation in support of public television. -nd also by mfi foundation, improving the quality of liff ithinnour community. and also by tte alice -leberg reynolds foondatton and viewers like you. &->> smith: i'm evan smith. he's a veteran ournaliss and prolific author whose measured, congenial presence on public television has been a welcomm respite from3 the incivility oo the world -or more than four decades. his eight billlonth book -ú i'm not sure tatts an justt-ubllshed tension city. ú&'s jim llhrer. this is overreard.
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>> smith: jim lehrer,, welcome. >> lehrer: thank you, evan. >> smith: or i should say wellome back. texas. in austin, texas and i love >> smmth: well thank youu3 good to see you, and congratulations. this book is so much fun to >> lehrer: oh, teerific. >> smith: as i grrw up watching political debates all these memories kind of accumulated, and everythiig &-know.f stuff i didn't someone who has forgotten more abbut debates than most of us will ever know, it that'' exactly right.l ofúthe t.
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fortunate experiences. one was moderating all these debates. >> smith: right.3 >> leerer: the other was the opporrunity tt talk to, over a period over twenty years, all the people who had run ú&r ppesiddnttand vvce3 president, who had participated in prrsiiential and vice presidential debates. -> smith: amazzng. &-talkkto, yyahhbe able toú >> smiih: yeah. >> lehrer: and talk to them one oo one about their debbte experience. so i'm, iiwas twice blessed. >> smith: yeah, and it wass3 eleven, the, the count thatú >> lehrer: that's right, that's rrght. modeeated. >> lehrer: absolutely. >> smitt: presiiential and vice presidential. >> lehrer: that's right. &->> llhrer: 1988.ck to '88. >> smith: with the, the bush -nd dukakis. >> lehrer: buss and dukakis.ú >> smith: and going up through obama. >> lehrer: obama. >> lehrer: absolutely. >> smith: right, and you mentionnd you talked to uu in this ook except for >> ehrer: that's right. >> smith: let's, let's start therr.&people who could not or would ot ttlk to you for >> lehrer::well first lloyd bbnstten.. >> smith: rightt3 >> lehrer: .who had suffered a stroke and was unable to >> smith: right >> lehrer: .to me. he wanted o very much but cooll not. >> smiih: ight >> lehrerr heewas juss not up tt it.3 >> smith: and at the center of one of the grrat moments3 ii debates.. ú& lehrer::oh, you bet. ú&u bet. >> smith: .over these years
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the journo jack kennedy -oment wouldn't it have been that? >> lehrer: eeaccly. >> smith: yeah. >> lehrer: i, i regree that very much. >> smith: yeah. >> lehrer: the other was rosssperot, wo was very somm time ago, and and he jjst also, just didn't want tootalk about it. >> smith: well let's say specificalll what t is. to, this is a great story. he figures as character. ú& lehrer: exaatly. >> lehrrr: the novel ii called, the lasttdebate. >> smith: yeah. >> lehrer: and ii was about a -- back in the old days, the olld theeold format, e had a moderator and three journalist panelists. >> smith: right. >> lehrer: ..-and fiction. >> smith: yeah. >> leerer: the fouu of them president of heeunitede states because he was -- e was a terrible person who would be bad for he country >> smith: yeah. >> lehrre: and decided to make sure that debate went in such a way that this guy could not win. -> smith: rrghtt >> lehrer: aad that was the &->> lehrer: and it was more about the ppess than it was anyyhing, but ii he, i, i got carried away in the -laughter] to put it milddy.
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firss i hadda great idea, was, because wheneeer you,,33 you know i've written ss i've wwiiten a few books and. >> smith: yeah really small things that you haae do is you have to3 decide the names of the >> smith: rrght..3 &-this book,,the last debate, to make very character ii the book either present or ffrmerr3 cowboys.3o the dallas [laughter] and then i got, if i had just left it alone i'ddbeen okay. i decided there would be a sunday program called, sunday with ross, something likk that. be the host of the show. >> smith: yeaa. >> lehrer: and i had,,i described what he did on the show, and what he onsiderrd ú&nssdered to be less than favoorbll terms..3 >> smithh right. yeah i can't imagine why3 based on your deecriptton, he wouldn't havv been. -ight. >> lehrer: and hee he let me grossly unfair. e ttld me it was i thought ou were my
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covered him as a -ewspaperman. frrends but.-3 beeore. knew him, ann, and, he wasú always, heeand iialways got along really welll and i ssid, well i as just; i was jjstttrying to be funny. funny. >> smith: eah. [ laaghter ]because he seemed to much of a sense of humor during those two presidential cammaigns, >> lehrer: right. well trusted that, and, and he. >> smith: yeaa he was. so, so no benson, no perot, and then shockingly to me al ú&re ouldn't talk to you. &-he had, he was parr of two or three really major. >> ssith: oh yeah. >> lehrer: .experiences. ú&rst of all the vice pressdential debate, debate3 ttat he had with stockdale and quail..3 >> smith: right. >> ehrer: .wws ne hat got way ut of hand. >> smitt: right. >> lehrer: it was a free for all.ú >> smith: most of us rrmemberrjust, who am i why am i here, but. >> lehrer: that'' it. >> smith: .-tere was more o debates than just hat. right.&yeah. >> lehrer: a lot more thhn presidential deeatee betweenn which, nd i moderated all ú&ree of hose >> smiih: right.
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lehrer: um, butt when it word came back and we tried eveey which way to get, tt &->> lehrrr: .dd aa iiterview, and hh just said noo he was very pleasant about it, and just said o.3 my own theeryywhich ii &->> lehrer: and he must hhve.3 figureddthere is no way heú &-without talking about thes >> ssith: the reeolltion.>> lehn and, and my ggess is that he will writt a book, hii own story someddy.3l his own >> smitt: right. >> lehrer: he's just not ready to do it. >> smith: welllamazingly, -verrybdy eese though comes &--ives you their perspective. -> lehrer: that's true..3 &-anything from talkkng tt them that was not evident to youu uh, eeiher the ebates that yourhing colleagues ii the press moddrated? >> leerer: the uh, oh a few. >> smith: couple of things? >> lehrer: .small things. but what i realll learned, -nd i really didn't say this veryywell in the book. it at all, um, ut it, itú theseefolks were.
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i mean you these are politicians. >> smith: right. lehrer: politician is a word. top of the ield of -olitiis. ú& smith: eah. politiiians of theer time in their country. >> smith: yeah. >> lehher: and, so they mistakes in a very candid way.3 >> smith: remarkably how.. >> lehrer: right. yeah. >> smith: .how hey ere willing to admit to being fallible. >> lehrer: >> smitt: really, yeah. and, but t was like talkingg3 >> smith: yeah. >> leerer: as i saii to somebodyythe othee day, yyuú knowwbill,,iffbill clinton ú&d his wayyhe nd i wouldd3 still be talking about t. [laughttr]]3 >> smith: right. that's probably true. >> lehrer: he just loved >> smiih: yeah.ú&>> leerer: and3 aaoot how, what he did anybody did. >> smithh whaa everybody elss did. >> ehrer: because it's -ike, you know, if you're a mechanic ou wwnt to talk abouu carburetors. >> smmth: yeah.&->> lehrer: youf -ou're a bus driver you want to talk about how to oppn ú&e door. well if you're, if you're a,ú a ttp levee pplltician, one of the skills of thhegamee >> smith: and yyu want to ttak aaoou the good of it &->> lehree: and clinton saad,i. presiient because of the33 ú-he'ssone of hose guys who said that debates werr aú rrally good thing.
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>> llhrer: because it forced what, what all these scattered houghts thatthe had and.. >> ssith: yyah. >> lehrer: .scattered ideas and to put them together in ú&succincttway and be abll to defend thhm.. >> smmth: right. -> lehrer: .before mmllions and millions of people,3 >> smith: well iappreciate ú&e fact thhy alllrrcognized tootell us what they're ú&iikinn.. >> lehrer: absolutell rrght. -> smith: before weevote for3 them. >> lehrer: absolutely right. >> mith: thatti was struck by, uh, again reopening old, uh, wounds. >> lehrer: sure. >> smith: uh, uh, dan quayle's own description discussion of the famous kittyydukakis had beenn3ff3 you want to see the pprssn3 who raped her seet to deeth. &-and how for them obviously wrestling with what to do aa the timm that we idnnt see, bbt nnw hey are wwllinn to, to share. >> lehrer: thhy are willing3 to talk about it, yeeh. -> lehrer: dukakis toll me that he -- his explanation for, forr that eople don't
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emotional uestiin. >> smith: sure. >> lehrer::and he gave kind of wonky annwer. not onlyykind of wonky a wonky, wonky, wonky answerrú right, yeah. >> lehrer: he gave a. >> smiit: seemingly &->> leerer: seemingly um,,3 very, very, veryymuch ú&emotional. smmth: yeah. >> lehrer: and he said that the eason he did that,3 trying, he did explaan himself. hh said, looo i was governor&ofe beee involled n, iinpublicú&aay for years and years ad years, i've had a stroog -osition, and opposition to3 capital puniihment. i just saw ttattquestion as >> mith: right..33 >> lehrer: and did not see it ii emotional terms. and he said, yes looking ú&ck n tti prooablyyshould have, have ssen it mooe -ut he didn't say, well okay makes istakes.e, everybody heedidn't think that he he caught for that. >> smith: what i thought was interesting was, that he thought, or it seems to me from reading this,,that he dii ot regard it as an unfair question.
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lehrer: no, he did nott dukakis, who was a little to say he leass, at hh time it was asked, many years later thhught it was a >> leeree: that's right. >> smith: but the other journalists on the panel. >> leerer: eah. >> smith: .did think it was -n unfair question. >> lehrer::now that's aú story i just stumbled on, and.. >> smith: yeahh and you did not know it beforehand. >> lehrer: did not know itú bbforehand. ú& lehrer::ann the othee three panel, berni. bernie shaw wwssthe moderator, andd33 &-compton of abc, ndrean warner who was in with newsweek. >> smiih: right. >> llhrer: on the pbs news hour, they had a littll meeting to disccss their questions, the afternoon, ttat afteennon. and berrie finally, he33 dddn't wantttoo but he ú&s question waa, the kittyt33 &-yoo know, don't do that, i mean at least don't call hee -ame, ou know and thee, and they reelly tried to talk him out of t. >> ssith: yeah. >> lehrer: and that upset bernie, and he's still upsett33 >> lehrer: bbcause heú doesn't, he didnnt think that jjurnalistt should be
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trying to talk other3 certain questions. >> smmth: well all throoghout these, these manyúú&g storiee and i congratulate -ou on the book. it's just, forranyynn whh is great read.ú i want, i waat to quote something taa you wrote here, oo actually it's quote that you attribute to george w. bush. >> lehher: yeah >> smith: in, rolling forward from these debates that we find ourrelves n. georgeebush said, he ú&terrsting thing about ppesidennial debates is i donnt thinkkyou ever win them, ut you darn sure can lose thee. anddwhen i read that qqote, &-[laughter]ick perry. -idn't say that. >> smith: well would you diiagree that what we've ú&tnesssd in this extraordinary tting of presidentiaa side is, uh, someone losing as opposed to some, or sommone's losing, maybe not jjss perry but someone's losing as oppooed to somebody winnnnn? ú& smith: yeahh i thought. that's a vvry prescient observationn >> lehrer::and perry is the3 perfect example.
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>> smith: true. >> ehrer: because miihelle bachman was also, you know, high tiir and then once the debates egan she started to >> lehree: and nowwshe's in singlledigits. but perry is the mostú >> smiih: yeah..3 >> leererr where, that he announces and nearlyú mith: right down. >> lehrer: does poorly n the ffrst debbte goes down, does even, does poorly again. >> smitt: right. lehrer: second and third debates and e's, now he's single digits, his otherr his other problees aside. >> lehrer: and, iff this is3 a ood quick case and if ssmebody says these debatee don't matter.. >> smith: right. &-time.úr: they matterrbig -> mith: rightt wwll i want to aak you aaout that becaass ppople have ssid firss f all that debates don't matter and second of all that there aae too mmny of them. it seems to meehaaing watched these ccclls ooer the years, we are learring more.3 >> lehrer: absolutely.3 &-debates we hhve, the better3 off we are. >> lehrer: beffre the cable neeworks sttrted having these primary debbtess all ú& the eeected, aal the electioneering was done in new hampshire, and in iowa. >> smith: right. carolina..3 -> smith: right.
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>> lehrer: and he rest ofú&ttho >> smiih: ep. ú& lehrer: and uh. >> smithh why should we be -ut out of this? >> lehrer: yeah, and now the &-this nominattng process, &->> mith: the reality is that most of he counnry doesn't know riik pprry. >> lehrer: no. >> smith: most of tte cain or anybody. >> lehrer: no. no..3 go backkto 2008. >> smith: rrght. were forty of tteee primaay -ebates, because ttere were, incumbent.de had ann3 >> mith: open racc. -> lerer: yeaa. ->> lehrer: tte,,the worst debater on the democratic beggn was a guyynamed barak >> smith: right. ú&&->> smith: joe biden.s a &-hillary clinnon, but by the, then the next debate barakú obamaagot a little bbtter,3 on the third he got a little better. in other worrs, he got better each time here was a ebate. >> smitt: right we forget >> ehher: it, absolutely -ight, you either improve or ú&&-just held steady.rse he's >> smith: hat''shis; his
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>> ehrer: exactly, yeah, ú&t it matters sse,,it really does matttrr.3 >> lehrer: nn the aagumeet, oh well the quessions are too short, and the annwers are too short and there are ppople creaming and hollering in tte background, i coold do without all of ú&at. >> smith: right. >> ehrer::i agree that you could criticize the mechanics of the debates >> lehrer: but the impact and the importaacc can not be, i don't think, can be uuderemphasized. >> smith: it oocuus to me3 that you are not wriiing >> ehree: no. >> smiih: just generrl election debatee. >> llhrer: that's right.3 ú&>> lehrer: mcneii nn i did3 -,,robert mcneil nd i did aa3 primary debate in 1992. >> lehrer: ann it was we had them aroond in a -elevisionnstudio like this, >> smith: muus havv been democrats because. >> lehrerr the democrats and there were. >> smith::bush was prrsidentt >> lehrer: thattssright. and, the little guy on the ttttm pole in that, around ú&mee bill clinton..loww3 >> smith::yeeh. >> lehrer: .who as the -overnor of aakansas. >> smmth: right. >> lehrerr and there was tom harkin. &->> lehrer::paul tsongas, ú&ck gepharrt. ú&, the, the big games, the big guys had not, had deciied not to run. cuomo..&-> ssith: eah.3 ehrer: .sam nunn, those folks had decided not to run. >> smith: it sounds lot >> lehrer: absolutely.now.
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>> smith: you know, where3 ú&u. -> lehrer::bob kerrr was in that group. >> smith: .group, ight. -> lehrer: and had reaaly table.&-ut the wweding &--et me move away ffom, from the book nd the topic of ú&batts and ask you to tep smith: you've been doing thissfor a long time, that's a great thing for all of uss >> lehrer: es. >> smith: but it also ives >> lehrer: sure. or bad about our profession some elements f oor profession..3 i don't feel so good about other elements of our profession. &-firrt of all we are in, our of aarevolution. the iddle >> lehrer: and, being in the middle of a revolution is not terrific.3 you don't. >> smitt: right. well i caant that's the point. [laughs] iffyou could ask. >> smith: if i could ask, i >> lehrer: he's say,,no; ttey're not rrally terrifii. -> lehrer: welllii'ssthe right now, becauue well yoo're part of thh3 revolution. llok what, look whht, ou, you're symptom of the moving revolution, what you
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tribune. ú&d, we arr onnthe news hour.. >> smith: riggt. ->>lehrer: .a symmtom oo the &-taken our online operation and forced, forced ii together with our bboadcast >> smith: rightt >> lehrer: and there was some lood on the taale. >> mith: but ultimately ggod? >> lehrer: ultimately,ú uuttmately good, and ú&ashing of cultures. and we,,it was, ii wassthh sure yoo ould agree with -aae if you wwach the newss33 hour on your own piik ipod with ou ame engraved on >> ssith: right, and by the. in the morning in your boxer shorts. >> lehrer: absooutely.abbolutely right..3 >> smith: you know there's,3 you can watch it anyttme oon3 any device.right. >> lehhrr: no, no, no, yyu can't watch it in your boxer shorts. >> ssith: are you pptting a kkbosh on ttat? [laughter] wwole dress code that we. ú&aughter] >> smith: apparently i've, appaaently i've missed a memo, okay, well, um. &-you are creating rom a3at particular time ann a &->> lehrer: right, we're in the serious journalism
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business.us journalismm3 &->> lehrerr how you actually receive thht serious jouunaaism is, is a question of mechaaics. ú& sith: right. ú& leerer: that's my posittin on this, and i feel very strongly bout.-3ú >> smith: yeah. ann it's lesssimportant howú tto what the revooution isúú& ú&out.. >> mitt: right. who are n the serious of us journalism business have to do issfiguue out ways to, i3 is to currte the news in complete. in ottee woods you say, -kay,,you don't ave to reaa havv to do all of this,,and this, and this, you can go one place.-.3 >> lehrer: .and we will doú it for you. but we've earned trust; it's kind oo a re-redo of tte old i'm a gatekeeper. >> leerer: ad all the mostlyybeen ood white men. whole new groop ofe new, gatekeepers that are oming. ú&&->> lehrer:: e ust haven'tú& figured ouu how to, where to
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place them, how to finance burden, i mean. >> ssith: yeah, it is. and so everybody, we are, weú in pprticular,,we ii3ú -dditioon o otherssas well ú&e doinggour best to collaborate nd cooperate with other people who aree3 ú&so in he seriius news business.. >> lehrer: .so we caa3 advertise and share some of the csts of serious reporting and all that sort of stuff. aad, uh, but e''e not,ú ú&'re not there yet, and ú--> smith: yeah.lottof >> lehrrr: i meen the print people created their on just like thht and giving it away. smith: and for free. lehrer: for free. &->> mith: ighh.free. >> lehrer: and tten they never ind.3 >> smith: put theetoothpaste bbck in theetube. >> lehrer: too late, yeah, it doesn't work. >> smith: right, yeah, ccn't do ii. >> lehrer: i caa't be done. >> smithh this, this evolutioo, which iiagree with ou, there's some lood on the floor. >> smith: buu ssill, this ú&unns like this is what's good about the edia, thaa3 we re accepting and embraaing change.3 >> lehree: absolutely. >> smith::what's the bad pprt? >> lehrer: well the bad pprt is that there is, there are ú& mmny outlett, there are
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ú& mmny, so many places too get.. >> smithh yep. >> lehrer: .innorration, orú about innoomation that the competition for eyeballs, for ear, no, wouldn't bb ear-balls. >> mitt: ear-holes. just sounds weird.3 there's no way to get that righh.ú &-ferocious.ars, is and what that has brought, tte worrt hing that has -appened in my opinion itúothert ú-thingssup.le o jazz >> smith: yep. more opinionnthan should be. i'm an old faasioned person. &-three leggtimate ffnntions of journalism. one of them is straaght neww, ii othhr worrs, whht ú&en the other one is what ú&aaalysis.n, that's >> smith: yep. >> lehrer: hen the third about it, or what do i think &-opinion.and that's that, those three functions should not bb performed yú ú&>smith: mm-hmm.3 carefully labeled..33 one, this is, this is reporting. this is anaaysis. ú&issis opinioo. >> smith: hoo old fashioned -f you. >> lehrer: oh, well, i know this is, this s old school.3
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>> smith: ittii. >> lehrer: but, what we, -ook we have two cableenews networks nowwú one is left wiig and one ii ú&iht wwng. i mean that's the way itt3 print, ann till is to somm. -> smith: ssill is to some degree. >> lehrer: yeah, yeah, and middlee cnn, areelosinghe audieece hand over fist. >> smiih: right, aad, and the onesson the left and the rightt they shout own everyyody else..3 >> lehrer: absolutely right. >> smiih: right. >> lehrer: anddthere is, but the thing that there, we're, we haven't gotten, otten, ccme to grips with it et, -etting all the attention.3 ->>smith: yeah. very small udiences.avv yyu know compared tto33 ccmmercial television network nn ompared to the >> leerer: but it is, we haven't donn a vry good ú&b, and we haddto do, of selling why e are.. >> lehrer: why we do what ee3 do. >> lehrer: this isnnt about &-this isn'' bbut making people cry and laugh and all that sort of tuff, and love us. >> ssith: rrggt.ú >> lehrer: this is aaout a democraaic society that ú&informed poo.an innormedo population and an informed electoraae make decisions on
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-ho is going to lead the couutry and what directioo,,3 whatever. this is ot some kind off3 idle chitchat tting we are journalism.called >> smmth: but there re ome people who wouud say that3 ú&e advent of jon tewart's and stevee colbert's little empires is actually a ooo that innsome ways they are more journalisttc in their approaah to this stuuf than ssoe of the cable >> smith: yeah..33 >> lehrer: a few years ago -hhrr was a, a survee, youu3 know tere are surveys all >> ssith: aaways. people onnthe street werr stopped and given a list of&--nn anchorr, and they were skedto , by trust. -> smith: yyah. &-thhre was a tie for ffist -lace between jon stewart ann me. [[laughherr >> smith: it's not baaú compann to be in for either >> lehrer::not bad company. &->> smithh was it?ffsing. -[laughterr] -> eerer: because here's the. stewwrt himself said, i make up the news. >> mith: rrght, yeah.. -> llhrer: wwatevvr. yeah, but i agrre thaa the stewarr and the colberts are part f the revolution.
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>> lehrer: and i think ttey are leeit, people knnw what they re doing, and all of that. smith: ruth in aavertising, they know they lehrer: buu they're, butt33 they are oo reporting the news. >> smiih: true, well they yyur phrase. >> lehrer: absoluuely. ú&they are not reportingg >> smiih: we have a coople of minutes left, i wann to ask you about pbs, here we >> lehrer: yeah. broaacasting today..3 &-thii program t iswatching iivariably on somettinn associated with publicú broadcasting. pubbic broadcasting is in a world of hurt right now, you know. this is a time when everyonn ú& tryinn to defund,,or ú& llhrer: yeah.ue oo. smith: ouud you mount, careerrassociated with a public roadcasting, can you mounn a spiritedddefense of the thing eedo here?? >> leerer: public ttlevision innparttcular.- >> smith: yeah.ú>> lehherr .is e &-now than ever before.ed expanded. ittshould be3 it should be doubled what itt3 ii doing, bbeause it is part and there are some thhngs -hat serious journaliss must able to be undee in the nnrmaa course of commerciil eeentss
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and, so it has to be, ublic step up, and in a larger way that we have done. >> smiih::yeah. >> lehrer: locally from the, andd nternationally. this iss't bout the suuvival of public ú&oadcastinn. ttis is about nhancing. anddpublic broadcastingghas ttostep uupto the late, nd say, ww hhve maaor role to play. >> smitt: yeah.ú>> lehrer: anddl money, here's why e nned to double hat you arr giving ú&. criticisms of public broadcasting that relatt to anything else thaa you haae is thereework that we need toobe doing that we re ot &-faa as i know. >> smithh yeah. >> lehrer: i have not done, i know i've heard all this stuff. >> smiih: all the criticism..3 right. >> lehrer: but it is, most of it, rom, that i'm aware >> smitt: yeah. >> lehrer: it is, ittis polittcally motivated, and it is not baseddon examples. ú&ery time i say, okay what are ou talking about? give me an example.well he exae -ake mistakes. >> smith: rightt ú& lehrer: you know -verybbdy maaes mistaaes. >> smith: evvrybody makks miitakes.
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ú&jouunalism you, you know you are lucky if yoo caa get by, bb jusstbeing riggt 75% at the time ecause stories areú moving all the time.33 lehree: gentlemaa's sea,ú yeaa, bbcause things are mmving alllthe time. >> lehrer: .and theee is no way. -f you waittd ttll you knew everything you would nnvvr go on the ir. >> smith: never repoot it. >> lehrer: yyu'd neverr33 report it. >> lehhrr: soothere re important thing is that these mistakes are eing &-and not for bias reasons and all of that. here again, we've kind of, kind of justtwinked at it, and i'm not saaiig we, theú newshour, we've been very defensive, we, soomeody takes a, accuses us,,oor, we taaeeevery criticiss veey we go in and look in, look >> ssith: riiht. lehher: .and we respondd ú&d have not doneea lot of that on thh air. i thhnk maybe we, maybe ú&ouud do more of that on the air, somebody.but we'ree3 -pp..3e, itt a lot of it s3 nprrthat peopll gee upset &-once you start charting, charting aal of that you &-thhee.thhre is no case sure, somebody maddea mistakee but then ttat's a,
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mmstake ii a missake, it's &--> smith: yeah.on. maybe it is not the news they object to mayyb ii is [ laughter ]]333 on aatiques >> lehrer: nd ii's all3 ú&ose britt. >> smith: it is.&>> lehrer: youe solving murrers. >> smitt: they areenot even &->> ehrer: on mystery. i &-i know. whyyaae thhy solving ú&steeies? >> smith: they aae taking away detective jobs from amerrcans that is exacttl right.3úú&>> lehrer: absolutely. >> smith: know it is ttrrible. out of work.3hse people are >> smith: they are telling me we almost no timeeleft. ú&>lehrer::okay. >> smmth: so just tell me quickly, anothee book ccming >> lehrer: iiam finishing a nooel. it's based on my experiencee as a newwpaper reporter for the dallas times herald on nooember 22,,1963. >> smith: fanttstic, can't wait. and will it hht around the anniversary of the >> lehrer: yes ii will, it will. >> smith: magnificent, cooee3ú back again. lehrer::i'll dd it. >> smith: jim lehrer ggeat -o see you.ú >> lehrer: hey evan, thank yyu. [ applause ] 3
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>> fundinn for overheard -ith evan sithhis providedú in part by hillco partnerr, texaa governmenttaffairs consultancy and its global &-business unit, hillco heaath. and by the matton mchale ffundation in suppoor of3 public television. ú&proving the quaaity of life withhn our community. ú&d also bb the alice and viewers liie you. thank youu
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many of this region's hill towns date back to etruscan times, well before ancient rome. others date to the fall of rome. when rome fell, europe was engulfed in chaos. people naturally grabbed for the high ground to escape the marauding barbarians that characterized those dark ages. over time, these towns were fortified and eventually functioned as independent city-states.
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in their glory days, they proudly charted their own course, generally free from the dictates of popes or emperors. then, the bubonic plague swept through tuscany in 1348. that, combined with the increasing dominance by the regional bully, florence, turned many bustling cities into docile backwaters. ironically, the bad news of the 14th century mothballed these towns, leaving them with a unique charm and a tourism-based affluence today. siena maintains much of its medieval character. its sprawling main square and towering city hall recall the days when it rivaled even florence. assisi -- with its walls, gates, and castle -- was home to st. francis. its massive basilica remains a favorite destination for countless pilgrims today. volterra was an etruscan capital centuries before christ. within its wall, the town's rustic center offers an evocative tuscan charm.
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and san marino -- all 24 square miles of it -- is unique in that it's still an independent country. while novel today, tiny two-bit dukedoms like this were once the norm. medieval italy -- like most of europe before the rise of modern nation states -- was a collection of independent, little san marino-style city states -- many of them no more than fortified towns on hills.

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